Statistics About Thyroid Cancer

The American Cancer Society estimates that a 48,020 new cases of thyroid cancer (36,550 in women, and 11,470 in men) will be diagnosed in the United States. The likelihood of being diagnosed with thyroid cancer has been on the rise, and is now more than double than in 1990.

An estimated 1,740 will die of thyroid cancer during 2011. Thyroid cancer is, however, considered one of the least deadly and most survivable cancers, and 5-year survival rates for thyroid cancer are almost 97%.

Thyroid cancer is more common in younger people, and nearly two-thirds of those diagnosed with thyroid cancer are between the ages of 20 and 55.

Thyroid cancer is one of the few cancers on the rise in recent years, with a growth rate of about 6% a year since 1997. Many experts believe that the increase is primarily due to greater use of thyroid ultrasound, which is better able to detect previously malignant thyroid nodules that, in the past, likely went undetected. Some of the increased rate is, however, due to finding more large tumors.

The Thyroid Neck Check
To underscore the importance of early detection, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) encourages Americans to perform a simple self-exam they call the “Thyroid Neck Check.” Examining your neck can in some cases help you find lumps or enlargements in the neck that may point to thyroid conditions, including nodules, goiter and thyroid cancer.

Statistics About Thyroid Cancer

Some people use statistics to try to figure out their chances of getting or curing cancer. You should remember that statistics show what happens with large groups of people. No two people are alike. You can’t use this information to know or predict what will happen to you.

These are 2011 statistics from the American Cancer Society:

  Doctors will diagnose about 48,020 new cases of thyroid cancer.

  Thyroid cancer occurs more often in women. About 36,550 cases of new thyroid cancers will be diagnosed in women. The other 11,740 will be found in men.

  Thyroid cancer rates have risen slightly in recent years. It is the fastest-increasing cancer in both men and women.

  Thyroid cancer occurs more often in younger adults. Nearly two-thirds of those diagnosed are between ages 20 and 55.

  Thyroid cancer has a 97 percent survival rate at the five-year mark. This means that out of every 100 people treated for thyroid cancer, 97 of them will be alive five years after treatment.

  About 980 women and 760 men will die of thyroid cancer.

To detect a thyroid abnormality early, or lumps that may indicate potential thyroid cancer, follow these steps to perform your own “Thyroid Neck Check:”

1. Stand in front of a mirror
2. Stretch neck back
3. Swallow water
4. Look for enlargement in neck (below the Adam’s Apple, above the collar bone)
5. Feel area to confirm enlargement or bump
6. If any problem is detected, see an doctor

Statistics on Differentiated Pediatric Thyroid Cancer

  Papillary and follicular thyroid cancer accounts for only approximately 1% of all pediatric cancers in the 5-9 year old age group and up to 7% of cancers in the 15-19 year old age group.
  Only 1 in a million children younger than age 10 years will get thyroid cancer.
  In children under age 10, thyroid cancer tends to affect boys and girls with about equal frequency, but thereafter it generally becomes more common in girls. The ratio of girls to boys with differentiated thyroid cancer reaches a peak of over 5 to 1 in the 15-to-20 year-old age group.
  Medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) accounts for 5% to 10% of all thyroid cancers. In children and adolescents, it is a very rare disease, affecting less than one child per million per year.

Note: The “Neck Check” is not conclusive. A thorough examination by a physician is needed to diagnose or rule out thyroid cancer.


Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association (ThyCa)

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